When You Say “Background Check”, What Exactly Do You Mean?

One of the biggest problems with the term “background check” is the definition. There are so many potential components depending on the type of information an employer seeks as well as what is useable under the law.

First, it’s important to understand a background check is generally considered an investigative tool to determine the identity and character of an individual. However, because there is no standard definition, it can be many things to many people. For instance, references from past employers or checking someone’s driving record may qualify as a background check.

While many employers use this information to aid in making a decision as to whether or not to hire a candidate for employment, government entities regularly use background checks for security clearance purposes. But even in these two situations, the amount and type of information gathered is likely to vary greatly.

So let’s consider what a background check might include. Here is a short list of some of the information that may go into a complete background check:

  • County criminal record
  • National criminal record
  • International criminal record
  • Sex offender registry
  • Education verification
  • Employment history
  • Motor vehicle report
  • Credit check
  • Social security number check
  • Workers’ compensation history

The amount of information you need to gather on potential new employees is generally governed by their position, industry regulations, and federal and state laws.

Whereas the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection offers information on what employers should know about prospective employees and credit checks from a national perspective, in some states such as Maryland, Illinois, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii, there are limits on how employers may use credit information.

Depending on where you conduct your business, you will need to understand the federal and state laws that regulate not only credit, but each of the other components as well.

That’s when having an expert in the field with over 20 years of fast, accurate service comes in handy. Whatever your background check needs, we can help. Contact us today.

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